Of Mice and Men pdf Book Summary
Of Mice and Men pdf Book is a novella by John Steinbeck. The novella narrates the experiences of George Milton and Lennie Small, two displaced migrant ranch workers, who move from place to place in California in search of new job opportunities during the Great Depression in the United States.
The title is taken from Robert Burns’ poem “To a Mouse”, which reads: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men / Gang aft agley”. (The best laid schemes of mice and men / Often go awry.)
Of Mice and Men pdf Book has been a frequent target of censors for vulgarity, and what some consider offensive and racist language; consequently, it appears on the American Library Association’s list of the Most Challenged Books of the 21st Century.
Of Mice and Men pdf Book Characters
- George Milton: A quick-witted man who is Lennie’s guardian and best friend. His friendship with Lennie helps sustain his dream of a better future. He was bound in teasing Lennie since he was young.He is described by Steinbeck in the novel as “small and quick”, every part of him being “defined”, with small strong hands on slender arms. He has a dark face and “restless eyes” and “sharp, strong features” including a “thin, bony nose”.
- Lennie Small: A mentally disabled, but gigantic and physically strong man who travels with George and is his constant companion. He dreams of “living off the fatta’ the lan'” and being able to tend to rabbits. His love for soft things is a weakness, mostly because he does not know his own strength, and eventually becomes his undoing. Steinbeck defines his appearance as George’s “opposite”, writing that he is a “huge man, shapeless of face, with large, pale eyes” and “wide, sloping shoulders”. Lennie walks heavily, dragging his feet a little, “the way a bear drags his paws,” adding that his arms do not swing at his sides, but hang loosely.
- Candy: An aging ranch handyman, Candy lost his hand in an accident and worries about his future on the ranch. Fearing that his age is making him useless, he seizes on George’s description of the farm he and Lennie will have, offering his life’s savings if he can join George and Lennie in owning the land.
- Slim: A “jerkline skinner,” the main driver of a mule team and the “prince of the ranch”. Slim is greatly respected by many of the characters and is the only character whom Curley treats with respect. His insight, intuition, kindness and natural authority draw the other ranch hands automatically towards him, and he is significantly the only character to fully understand the bond between George and Lennie. Slim is considered the “übermensch” of this story by the god-like descriptions of Slim that he is the one that knows best out of the cast.
- Curley: The Boss’ son, a young, pugnacious character, once a semi-professional boxer. He is described by others, with some irony, as “handy”, partly because he likes to keep a glove filled with vaseline on his left hand. He is very jealous and protective of his wife and immediately develops a dislike toward Lennie. At one point, Curley loses his temper after he sees Lennie appear to laugh at him, and ends up with his hand horribly damaged after Lennie fights back against him.
- Curley’s wife: A young, pretty woman, who is mistrusted by her husband. The other characters refer to her only as “Curley’s wife”. Steinbeck explained that she is “not a person, she’s a symbol. She has no function, except to be a foil – and a danger to Lennie.” Curley’s wife’s preoccupation with her own beauty eventually helps precipitate her death: She allows Lennie to stroke her hair as an apparently harmless indulgence, only for her to upset Lennie when she yells at him to stop him “mussing it”. Lennie tries to stop her yelling and eventually kills her accidentally by breaking her neck.
- Crooks: Crooks, the black stable-hand, gets his name from his crooked back. Proud, bitter, and cynical, he is isolated from the other men because of the color of his skin. Despite himself, Crooks becomes fond of Lennie, and though he claims to have seen countless men following empty dreams of buying their own land, he asks Lennie if he can go with them and hoe in the garden. Crooks is a more relatable individual who sees things from a more rational and human perspective.
- Candy’s dog: A blind dog who is described as “old”, “stinky”, and “crippled”, and is killed by Carlson.
- Carlson: A “thick bodied” ranch hand, he kills Candy’s dog with little sympathy.
- The Boss: Curley’s father, the superintendent of the ranch. The ranch is owned by “a big land company” according to Candy.
- Whit: A young ranch hand.
Of Mice and Men Book Author – John Ernst Steinbeck Jr.
John Steinbeck, born in Salinas, California, in 1902, grew up in a fertile agricultural valley, about twenty-five miles from the Pacific Coast. Both the valley and the coast would serve as settings for some of his best fiction. In 1919 he went to Stanford University, where he intermittently enrolled in literature and writing courses until he left in 1925 without taking a degree. During the next five years he supported himself as a laborer and journalist in New York City, all the time working on his first novel, Cup of Gold (1929).
After marriage and a move to Pacific Grove, he published two California books, The Pastures of Heaven (1932) and To a God Unknown (1933), and worked on short stories later collected in The Long Valley (1938). Popular success and financial security came only with Tortilla Flat (1935), stories about Monterey’s paisanos. A ceaseless experimenter throughout his career, Steinbeck changed courses regularly. Three powerful novels of the late 1930s focused on the California laboring class: In Dubious Battle (1936), Of Mice and Men (1937), and the book considered by many his finest, The Grapes of Wrath (1939). The Grapes of Wrath won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize in 1939.
Early in the 1940s, Steinbeck became a filmmaker with The Forgotten Village (1941) and a serious student of marine biology with Sea of Cortez (1941). He devoted his services to the war, writing Bombs Away (1942) and the controversial play-novelette The Moon is Down (1942). Cannery Row (1945), The Wayward Bus (1948), another experimental drama, Burning Bright (1950), and The Log from the Sea of Cortez (1951) preceded publication of the monumental East of Eden (1952), an ambitious saga of the Salinas Valley and his own family’s history.
The last decades of his life were spent in New York City and Sag Harbor with his third wife, with whom he traveled widely. Later books include Sweet Thursday (1954), The Short Reign of Pippin IV: A Fabrication (1957), Once There Was a War (1958), The Winter of Our Discontent (1961), Travels with Charley in Search of America (1962), America and Americans (1966), and the posthumously published Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters (1969), Viva Zapata! (1975), The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights (1976), and Working Days: The Journals of The Grapes of Wrath (1989).
Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962, and, in 1964, he was presented with the United States Medal of Freedom by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Steinbeck died in New York in 1968. Today, more than thirty years after his death, he remains one of America’s greatest writers and cultural figures.
Of Mice and Men pdf Book Information
- Publisher : Penguin Books; Reissue edition (September 1, 1993)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 107 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0140177396
- ISBN-13 : 978-0140177398
- Lexile measure : 630L
- Item Weight : 2.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 7.4 x 4.2 x 0.4 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #7 in Censorship & Politics
- #8 in Teen & Young Adult Classic Literature
- #14 in Classic American Literature
- Customer Reviews: 4.7 out of 5 stars 23,980 ratings
5.0 out of 5 stars Five mind-blown stars!
Reviewed in the United States on December 16, 2018
Five mind-blown stars!
When I started Of Mice and Men, I wasn’t sure I’d chosen the right read. The dialogue really was not what I expected and Steinbeck’s straightforward prose cut straight to the core of the matter. However, I stuck with it and the reward blew my mind!
Set in 1930s California, the story follows two destitute men as they roam, taking work where it could be found. George and Lennie had grown up together, and when Lennie’s Aunt and caretaker died, George bore the responsibility of watching over him, a man fully grown and built like a bear, but with the innocent mind of a child. Lennie, due to his ineptness, unintentionally creates situations that lead to trouble, and it was up to George to keep them both from being lynched on many occasions. George, though often frustrated with Lennie, dearly loved his friend. All they had was each other and a fanciful dream of owning their own farm. Life on the road can be desperately lonely, and to have such a good companion was a precious commodity. I was filled with respect for George who did everything in his power to take care of his dear friend.
This is not an easy read by any stretch of the imagination. While it is graced with beautiful friendships and the milk of human kindness, the book also explores the darkest aspects of humanity, and the ugly racism in the book is really hard to stomach. Steinbeck writes with a raw realism that is admirable, but his honest depiction brings the cruelty that we all know exists in the world.
The story came together with such a crescendo that my heart nearly burst from my chest. I won’t spoil this for anyone who hasn’t read it, but the tale touched me so profoundly that I was left staring at the last page for ages before I could bring myself to close it.
5.0 out of 5 stars “Just Look at the Flowers Lizzie. . .”
Reviewed in the United States on June 23, 2017
After watching an earlier episode of “The Walking Dead,” many of the comments mentioned that the story line of the episode mimicked events from “Of Mice and Men pdf book.” Having never read the book myself, I decided to download the short novella for fun.
The story is about two men named George and Lennie as they try to find a way to make a living in California as farmhands. The pair are forced to be nomads due to the instability of Lennie, whom George takes it upon himself to care for. The only thing that keeps them both going is their dream of having a farm of their own one day, one where Lennie dreams of taking care of the rabbits, but the pair find out that this tiny beacon of hope may not be enough to get them through their current job.
The introduction informs the reader that this novella was not meant to be historically accurate, but rather an expression of the feelings and lives of the men who wandered to California from the dust bowl in search of work. As an emotional expression, it works very well and leaves the reader feeling the hopelessness engulfing the lives of the men just trying to find a way to get by. It’s short, sad, sobering and well worth the short time it takes to read.
5.0 out of 5 stars American Dream?
Reviewed in the United States on October 22, 2021
For some, the American Dream is achievable. For others, like the characters in this story, not so much. This story is incredible, engaging and, at the same time, sorrowful. This is a tale that should be a must-read for every American, whether you’re at the top or bottom of the success scale. This story is also a reminder that we should all be just a bit more understanding, compassionate and tolerant of our compatriots, those that can navigate their life smoothly (i.e., George) and those that cannot (i.e., Lennie).
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